It is not all that rare an occurrence, lions attacking humans. And it isn't a rare occurrence when a human dies due to injuries acquired during the incident. But it is something rarely reported on in the western media. But add sex to the story and... well, here it is: A lion came upon a couple having sex in the African bush in Zimbabwe earlier this week and subsequently attacked them. Although the man escaped with his life, the woman was mauled to death.
The Associated Press reported Wednesday (March 6) that the resort town of Kariba, situated on the shores of the man-made lake of the same name, has been placed on high alert since a man and woman were attacked by a lion and the remains of another individual was found while searching for the rogue cat, now thought to be accompanied by others of its species. The National Parks and Wildlife Authority handed out fliers in the town and volunteers using a loudspeaker were employed to warn the townspeople about the possibility of lion attacks.
Rangers reported that the lions had eaten most of the second corpse but had not devoured the body of the woman.
According to My Zimbabwe, the attack occurred while the two were having sex. One witness stated that the man, who remained unidentified, fled totally naked from the scene wearing nothing but a condom.
Another source said the two were known to go off for a "romp" now and again, that the man was a local fisherman, the woman, a local vendor. The witness said that the lion came up from behind the couple. As he fled, he saw that the lion was attacking his companion.
A third source said that when the naked man reached the road and tried to obtain help, he was avoided, most likely because people thought a shouting, naked man was mentally unbalanced. But someone finally listened and drove him to a nearby police outpost where he reported the incident. Police and officers from the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Authority returned with the man to the scene but found the woman already dead.
My Zimbabwe also reported that the woman, Sharai Mawera, was one of three individuals killed by animals in the past week.
Since the attacks, locals have been warned by various groups and organizations to avoid the bush and to stay on large well-traveled roads. Since most attacks occur at night, beer drinkers have been warned to not travel by foot and churches have warned their congregations to not wander into the bush for praying (a common practice).
Lion attacks on humans are fairly common and is believed caused by the increasing scarcity of food due to the encroachment of civilization. According to a 2005 University of Minnesota study, more than 563 Tanzanians were killed between 1990 and the study's publication. There is also professional hunter and game warden George Rushby's estimate in his 1965 account, No More The Tusker, where he estimated that between 1,500 and 2,000 people were killed in Tanganyika (now modern-day Tanzania) by a single pride of lions between 1930 and through the 1940s. The prolific killing stopped when the lions were hunted down and killed.
It is also commonly known among conservation experts that lions that become man-eaters will often continue to attack humans until they die or are killed.